Question: 12/1

In the next part of Margaret Cavendish’s “The Blazing World”, the Empress continues to press for an understanding of the way the world works, but is caught on one complex factor, which was the devout religion of a seemingly knowledgeable people that, to the Empress, was simply incorrect. The Empress, seemingly of a Euro-Christian background, determined that the religion of this New World was not the “correct one” that she followed, and therefore set out to and successfully converted, first the women in the World, but then the entire society, of an entirely new religion that suited her own faith. This type of conversion is extremely reminiscent of colonialism; however, to complicate discussions, Cavendish does incorporate women in this religion, far more than the previous religion. “ Women, which generally had quick wits, subtitle conceptions, clear understandings, and solid judgments, became, in a short time, very devout and zealous Sisters, “ (59, Cavendish). The Empress views women highly and sees their potential as intelligent and reasonable beings which goes beyond the more simplistic and misogynistic view of women in the world prior, which was that women were considered too “emotional” and “distracting” to be included in an organized faith. While the Empress does push back on this, she also uses this to her advantage and exploits the desires of the women to be made equals in the society for her own agenda. In this way, I have started to wonder whether Cavendish is making a not-so-subtle nod to the ways that Western religions view Eastern religion, often exploiting the desires of women in those cultures to be free, to convert folks to Christianity. Could this entire piece be a satirical look at the ways Westerns attempt to conquer and infiltrate other societies, especially those in the East?

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